Screening in recruitment – ​​how voicebots can improve it?

Agnieszka Wiącek

Sending out CVs, stressing before the interview, ruffling feathers, impatiently waiting for an answer... probably every person active on the labor market has experienced it. However, recruitment is a challenge not only for candidates, but also for recruiters themselves. But thanks to automation, their lives are easier – this applies to every stage of the employee search, including screening. Today we’ll tell you how conversational AI helps streamline this process.

What is screening in recruitment?

Candidate screening is the initial and most time-consuming stage of recruitment (because there are many candidates at this stage). This is usually an initial conversation between the recruiter and the candidate, the aim of which is to examine each other’s needs.

The purpose of HR screening is to verify the most important issues, such as:

  • motivation of the candidate to work at a given company
  • skills, qualifications and experience necessary for a given position
  • attitude towards the proposed working conditions and pay

During screening, the recruiter also answers candidates’ questions. You should not forget that HR screening should build a positive candidate experience – so that the company is assessed and remembered as a reliable and attractive employer, even if the person is not ultimately employed.

What should a good HR screening be like?

From everything we have said, we can draw conclusions about the essence of properly conducted screening in recruitment. There are a few things to consider:

Time – screening should be quick. Not only for the obvious reason that good candidates don’t stay in the market for long, but also because a quick response builds a good company image and encourages candidates to take up the job. People who have submitted an application should be contacted and interviewed within the first few days.

Reception – ideally, it would be best to talk to as many candidates as possible so that the choice is not limited by anything (and there may be real gems among these candidates!). A CV often does not contain all the necessary information.

Standards – recruitment screening should be properly structured, i.e. it should include questions that are actually important for making a choice. Moreover, all candidates must be asked the same questions so that the selection can be fair. The recruiter should also be inquisitive and ask questions if the answer is not entirely clear.

Culture – all candidates, regardless of their approach, should be treated with class and provided with a positive experience. Good screening in recruitment is a responsibility!

Feedback – this is often the missing piece of the puzzle at the screening stage. Due to lack of time, it is sometimes omitted, although it is one of the most important components of candidate experience. It’s worth sending at least a short automatic reply, but not omitting anyone you talked to.

How to conduct screening when you have little time?

One of the key challenges of recruiters at the screening stage in recruitment can be summed up in one short sentence: “many candidates, little time”. There is not enough time to talk to everyone you would like to, and to provide answers to everyone – not to mention the errors that may occur due to fatigue and repetition of the entire process.

However, there is an automatic solution that will ensure good quality HR screening, relieving recruiters not only temporarily (they can save up to 50% of all time spent on finding and hiring the right candidates), but also reducing their frustration related to the need to repeatedly ask the same questions to dozens or even hundreds of people. It is an automatic voice assistant, that is a recruitment voicebot – a machine based on artificial intelligence that will talk to a person as naturally as another person.

As part of screening, a voicebot will ask candidates any questions – closed and open, and will also inform about the next stages of recruitment, acting as the company’s ambassador. It will also ensure the conditions for good screening, which we presented above:

  • It will call all candidates (and if it doesn’t get through, it will try until it succeeds), even immediately after submitting the application – it can process as many as 5,000 calls per minute
  • It will not omit any important information because it is a machine and does not make typically human errors “by omission”
  • An automatic response will be sent to each candidate
  • Maintains a full culture of expression, consistent with company standards
  • Will record the findings of each interview in the HRM system

The result of the voicebot’s work at the screening stage is a ready database of pre-selected candidates, which can be further handled by a recruiter. Sounds great, but is there a catch?

Screening with a voicebot and the human factor

You may be asking yourself if a voicebot – as a machine – will perform HR screening as well as a recruiter? Will it get the right answers to his questions and will they make sense?

First, a voicebot works on the basis of the so-called NLP, i.e natural language processing. So it understands a person regardless of the words used to address it.

For example, when asked about preferred working hours, a candidate may answer:

  • “I prefer the evening shift”
  • “I can’t work in the morning because I take care of my child”
  • “The hours from 2 pm up suit me”
  • “I’d love to work in the evening”
  • And so on…

In each case, the voicebot will correctly read the human’s intention, understanding that they prefer to work the evening shift. As the number of conversations increases, the recruitment voicebot also gains further experience, based on which its understanding of various intentions during the screening is even more perfect.

What’s more, all candidates’ answers are converted to text and saved – so recruiters can review them after screening with the voicebot.

It should be emphasized that the main task of a recruitment voicebot at the screening stage in recruitment is to collect and structure specific answers to key questions that decide whether a candidate will advance (or not) to the next stage. The assessment of the candidate’s deeper motivations and emotions is made by the recruiter themselves, and thanks to the voicebot’s work they have time to establish relationships after the screening – with the pre-selected candidates.

Example of a screening interview

So what does the voicebot’s conversation with the candidate at the HR screening stage look like? Its script can be freely adapted to the needs of a given company (including in terms of length, language and content)!

Let’s look at a short example:

Voicebot: Hey Michael! This is Anna, the virtual recruiter of the Good Company. Thank you for your application for the position of accountant. Do you have time to talk to me now?

Candidate: Yes, we can talk now.

Voicebot: I’m really glad! I want to tell you about the position. The job involves keeping accounting for our company’s clients. You work from 8 am to 4 pm in our office in the center of Vienna. Do you like this location and working hours?

Candidate: Yes, no problem, although I would prefer to work from 9 to 5 because I have to take my son to kindergarten in the morning.

Voicebot: I see. You can agree exact working hours with your direct supervisor – we try to be flexible regarding our employees’ requests! Now I want to ask you, what experience do you have working as an accountant?

Candidate: I graduated in accounting from the Jagiellonian University and then worked in various accounting offices for 5 years. For the last 4 years I have been working in the accounting and tax department of a large international company.

Voicebot: Thank you for your response! Let me summarize – you have a total of 9 years of experience in this industry in similar positions?

Candidate: That’s right.

Voicebot: All right! Finally, I would like to ask about your financial expectations.

Candidate: In this position I would like to earn at least X euros.

Voicebot: Thank you, I saved all your answers! Soon I will inform you about the result of this stage of recruitment. Do you have any other questions for me?

Candidate: Yes! When exactly will you call me?

Voicebot: I think up to a week at most. Is there anything else you want to ask?

Candidate: I already know everything, thank you – I will be waiting.

Voicebot: Thank you for the nice conversation and your time. Speak to you soon!

How to make good use of a voicebot in screening?

As we already mentioned, the recruitment voicebot and its interview script can be adjusted to the needs of a given organization and the recruitment process.

It applies not only to the structure of the screening conversation and questions asked, but also other issues that allow to personalize the recruitment screening and make it even more effective – including:

Voice selection – voicebot can talk in one of many voices, female or male (you can also give your bot a name). Companies also have the option of using recordings of the voices of their recruiters, other employees or brand ambassadors.

Language matching – voicebot can speak in line with the brand’s tone of voice, using its specific language and style of addressing candidates.

Setting the rules – you can also decide how many times a voicebot will try to call candidates (and at what times), when it will provide feedback, whether it will send SMSes confirming the arrangements and so on.

Screening with a voicebot – summary

Voicebots are invaluable help in screening – especially when there are many candidates and they need to be hired quickly. Sometimes the use of this tool for screening in recruitment can even decide about the very existence of a company – for example, when it needs new people during a period of increased activity.

Contemporary voicebots are intelligent and well received by the candidates with whom they find common ground. They help not only process applications, but also automatically build a positive company image.

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